Tag Archives: South Georgia Cemeteries

Andersonville National Cemetery

One of fourteen National Cemeteries administered by the National Park Service, Andersonville is still open for burials today. Few places will put into perspective the human cost of war more than the burial place of so many who paid the ultimate price in preserving our national interests and values.

I’ve visited here numerous times during my life and the impact is always the same. I’m awed by the beauty of the place yet saddened by the loss of so many.

The earliest burials at the site were trench graves of those who died at the adjacent prison at Camp Sumter, and these began in February 1864. In little over a year, over 13,000 men were interred here. The earliest graves are those visible when you first enter the cemetery.

After the war, the remains of many prisoners were confirmed and given proper markers.

Andersonville National Cemetery is still open for burials today, and the National Park Service tries to accommodate as many requests as possible. There are no waiting lists, so such a burial can only be arranged after a veteran’s death. Over 20,000 are interred here today.

Andersonville National Historic Landmark

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Monuments of Andersonville National Historic Site

With its notorious reputation as one of the worst Confederate prison stockades, the site of Camp Sumter inevitably became hallowed ground to the survivors and families of those who died here, including Confederate guards. Between 1899 and 1916, a series of monuments were placed by various states at the stockade site and within the cemetery, and their dedications were huge events, with survivors and regular citizens making the long journey to Andersonville by train. The Georgia Monument (above) was placed on Memorial Day 1976 at the entrance to the cemetery.

State Monuments of the Cemetery Site

The Illinois Monument, a collaboration by sculptor Charles Mulligan and state architect Carbys Zimmerman, is one of the nicest of all the memorials in the cemetery.

Dedicated in 1912, it features a bronze sculpture of Columbia pointing to fallen heroes, flanked by Youth and Maiden.

Statues of anonymous Illinois veterans leaning on the words of Lincoln and saddened by the human loss of war, flank each wing of the monument.

The Iowa Monument, dedicated in 1906, features a weeping woman atop a red base. The front of the base features a relief of an Iowa infantryman and the words: Iowa honors the turf that wraps their clay. The Unknown. Their names are recorded in the archives of their country. 

Though it was placed in 1911, the New York Monument wasn’t dedicated until 1914. It features bronze reliefs on the front and back of a tapered granite marker.

The back relief features a young and old soldier sitting inside the stockade with an angel hovering above them. It’s one of the most moving sculptures at the site.

The New Jersey Monument was among the first of the state monuments placed at Andersonville.

It features a soldier at parade rest, surveying the dead.

The Connecticut Monument commission chose a design by Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt. It was dedicated in 1907.

It depicts a typical young Connecticut soldier.

This is one of three monuments of the same design that Minnesota dedicated in 1916, the other two being located at the National Cemeteries in Little Rock and Memphis.

It depicts a young Union soldier in a winter coat.

The impressive Pennsylvania Monument features a mournful soldier atop an arch.

It was installed by Miller & Clark Granite and Monumental Works of Americus and dedicated in 1901.

The Maine Monument was erected in 1903. It was dedicated not only in memory of those who died here but to all who served. It was designed and cut by C. E. Tayntor & Company of Hollowell, Maine.

The Indiana Monument was dedicated in 1908.

State Monuments of the Prison Site

The Massachusetts Monument was dedicated in 1901, honoring the state’s 767 known dead at the site.

A favorite of many visitors, the Michigan Monument features a life-size weeping maiden.

It was created by the Lloyd Brothers Monument Company of Toledo, Ohio, and dedicated in 1904. Among those present at the dedication were ten carloads of former veterans from Fitzgerald, Georgia, the Union soldiers colony about an hour east of Andersonville.

At 40 feet, the Ohio Monument is the tallest at Andersonville. Dedicated in 1901, it is the second oldest monument in the park.

Like many of the others in the park, it features the motto “Death Before Dishonor”.

The Wisconsin Monument, accomplished in Georgia granite and topped by a bronze eagle, was dedicated in 1907. This view is from the rear of the monument.

The Rhode Island Monument was dedicated in 1903. As it’s the smallest state, its monument is also the smallest state monument at Andersonville. The 74 Rhode Island soldiers who are buried in the cemetery are all named on the monument. Among the is Charles F. Curtis, 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, who was one of the leaders of the despised Andersonville Raiders. These men were hanged by the other prisoners for terrorizing, stealing from, and even murdering some of  their fellow captives.

The so-called 8-State Monument was placed by the Woman’s Relief Corps (auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic) in 1934 to memorialize the states that didn’t have a monument. It was dedicated in 1936. States listed are: Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia.

Other Monuments at Andersonville

Lizabeth Ann Turner was a prominent member of the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC) who were instrumental in securing and beautifying the grounds at Andersonville. She had been a volunteer nurse in Boston during the Civil War and in 1895 became the National President of the WRC. Mrs. Turner died while visiting the prison site on 27 April 1907 and this memorial was dedicated to honor her in 1908.

Clara Barton was a leader in the effort to identify the dead at Andersonville and to establish the site as a National Cemetery. This monument, commissioned by the WRC, was dedicated on Memorial Day 1915.

On Memorial Day 1929, this monument commissioned by the Woman’s Relief Corps and authorized by President Hoover, was dedicated. It features two bronze tablets containing the words of the Gettysburg Address and General Logan’s Memorial Day Order of 1868.

There is also a monumental sundial, which isn’t pictured, and a wellhouse at Providence Spring, which will be covered elsewhere.

On 3 May 1989, the anniversary of the liberation of the German prison camp Stalag XVII-B, this monument was dedicated to honor all prisoners of German camps throughout the European theater of World War II. It is the last monument dedicated at Andersonville and is located within the cemetery, unlike the preceding monuments which are located at the prison site.

Southern State Monuments of the Cemetery Site

The Tennessee Monument is unusual in that it honors Southern natives who died at Camp Sumter in service to the Union. It was funded by contributions of Tennessee members of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was dedicated in 1915, within the prison site.

The Georgia Monument, dedicated on Memorial Day 1976, was the last state monument placed at Andersonville. Governor Jimmy Carter, who had worked to have Andersonville included in the National Park System, was instrumental in the monument being placed. It was created by Athens sculptor William J. Thompson. It commemorates lost prisoners of all American wars.

Andersonville National Historic Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ford Monument, Cuthbert

Cuthbert might be the last place one would expect to find an exquisite copy of Michelangelo’s Night, but it’s an unmistakable presence just inside the entrance to historic Rosedale Cemetery. It’s one of the finest examples of anonymous public art to be found in Georgia.

It marks the graves of Aaron Lane Ford (1903-1983) and his wife Gertrude Castellow Ford (1913-1996). Ford was a lifelong Mississippian and represented that state in Congress from 1935-1943. Mrs. Ford was the daughter of Congressman Bryant Thomas Castellow, who represented Georgia in Washington from 1932-1937. Though they spent their married life in Mississippi, I presume Mrs. Ford’s local connections are the reason they were interred here.

The allegorical sculpture was originally created for the tomb of Giuliano de’Medici in Florence and is considered one of Michelangelo’s most important commissions.

Cuthbert Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --RANDOLPH COUNTY GA--, Cuthbert GA

Seminole Chickee Grave Shelter, Ware County

Chickee is the Seminole word for house, and these iconic shelters are still scattered throughout Florida. To my knowledge, this chickee in the Carter Cemetery is the only such grave shelter in Georgia.

In addition to the construction, the shells marking the graves of George Washington Carter (25 October 1862-4 July 1934) and Millie Louvine Thrift Carter (18 January 1860-30 December 1947) honor a Native American ancestry. Mr. Carter, who was born on Cow House Island, was one of the pioneer settlers of the Okefenokee Swamp. The Thrifts were also early residents of the swamp.

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Early Settlers Cemetery, 1881, Swainsboro

Over 80 of Swainsboro and Emanuel County’s earliest settlers are buried in this secluded downtown cemetery. It’s a great space for quiet reflection and if you’re a taphophile, you’ll enjoy it.

The triumphant arch marks the graves of John Calhoun Coleman (28 October 1844-1 January 1923) and wife Martha Sarah “Mattie” Moring Coleman (21 April 1858-15 September 1926). The angel memorializes their daughter, Juanita Coleman Smith (16 March 1874-18 May 1910). Mr. Coleman was one of the most prominent men in Emanuel County during his lifetime and was a Confederate veteran. He served in Company H, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, taking part in the Seven Days Battle, first and second battles of Cold Harbor, Harper’s Ferry, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysbur, and finally at Manassas Gap, where he was captured and held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

John Coleman Mitchell (25 April 1897-21 January 1901). Grandson of John Calhoun Coleman.

 

 

 

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Filed under --EMANUEL COUNTY GA--, Swainsboro GA

Revolutionary War Cemetery, Louisville

This secluded cemetery, historically known as Old Capitol Cemetery, is located on the western edge of Louisville on US Highway 221. Notable as the final resting place of two of the best-known politicians of early Georgia (one considered such a scoundrel that newspapers of the period cheered his passing with sarcastic obituaries), it also contains cenotaphs for men who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, as well as early Louisville settlers.

Senator James Gunn (13 March 1753-30 July 1801) – Though the headstone notes his rank in the Georgia Militia, Gunn was, more importantly, one of Georgia’s first two United States Senators.

James Gunn came from Virginia to Savannah where he began practicing law. He was a captain of a volunteer brigade of dragoons in the Revolutionary War and was among General Anthony Wayne’s forces who helped drive the British from Savannah. He was made a brigadier general in the state militia after the Revolution. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1787 but did not serve. Along with William Few, he was one of Georgia’s first two U. S. Senators, elected as a Federalist in 1789. He attended Washington’s inauguration in New York City. Unfortunately, in 1794 Gunn was one of the primary figures in the Yazoo Land Fraud, having been an organizer of the Georgia Company which perpetrated the fraud. He delayed formal submission of the Georgia Company’s proposal to sell off western lands until after his reelection to the Senate. As soon as it became public, Gunn was the subject of outrage throughout the state but no formal charges were ever brought against him. Upon his death, just four months after his term in the Senate had ended, Gunn was ridiculed in obituaries around the state.  Gunn’s wife, Mary Jane Wright (6 December 1763-13 May 1796) of Savannah, committed suicide by drinking poison. She was buried at the family cemetery at Litchfield Plantation.

Though Gunn’s reputation is questionable, the damage to his gravestone is very unfortunate. It was carved by James Traquair, a Scottish immigrant who became a prominent stonecutter in Philadelphia. Traquair worked with America’s first professional architect, Benjamin Latrobe.

Roger Lawson Gamble (1787-20 December 1847) – Gamble grew up near Louisville and was admitted to the bar in 1815, having served as an officer in the War of 1812 and a member of the state house (1814-1815). He served as Georgia’s Attorney General from 1816-1822. He was elected as a Jacksonian to the 23rd Congress in 1832, serving one term. He was again elected, as a Whig, to the 27th Congress in 1841. He served as a judge of the Superior Court from 1845-1847. The crypt was carved by W. Glendinning, a stone mason active in Augusta in the mid-19th century. [Source 1859 Augusta City Directory].

John Gamble (1740- 1806) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War – I’m unable to confirm that John Gamble is a relative of Roger Lawson Gamble but assume there to be a connection. In 1772, John emigrated to Brunswick, Georgia, on the Brittania.

Major Patrick Carr (? Ireland-1802) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War – Carr was present at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Roger Lawson (17 May 1730 or 1731-6 August 1803) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War

Captain Chesley Bostwick (1744-2 January 1808) – 7th Continental Georgia Battalion, Revolutionary War

Nathan Bostwick (26 January 1746-9 May 1817) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War – Bostiwick was born in Suffolk County, Virginia. He may have been the brother of Chesley, but this is not presently confirmed.

Phillip Scott (?-21 October 1817) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War

Private William Walker, Sr. (17 December 1762-2 February 1818) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War – Walker was born in Buckingham County, Virginia.

Aaron Tomlinson (1748-12 April 1828) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War

Captain Ambrose Wright (1745-1805) – Georgia Troops, Revolutionary War

Mary Hubbel Savage Wright (28 December1825-23 June 1854) – Mary was the first wife of Confederate Major General Ambrose Ransom “Rans” Wright, who was possibly the son of Captain Ambrose Wright.  She was the daughter of Dr. William & Mary Savage, of Augusta. She died in childbirth, and her twins are buried within this enclosure, as well. Though Findagrave notes that this may only be a memorial and that Mary may actually be buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Augusta, this seems unlikely, as the text of the stone notes that her remains are here. Investigation into the matter is needed to confirm.

Thompson Markers – Various members of the Thompson family, representing three wars, are memorialized here. It is possible that these are cenotaphs and the exact whereabouts of the decedents within the cemetery is unknown.

John Thompson and William Thompson are both listed with birthdates of 1750 and death dates of 1826, and with notice of service in the Continental Line, Revolutionary War.

William Thompson (1790-1872) – Captain, Johnson’s Company, Georgia Militia, War of 1812

Judith Price Thompson (1798-1840) – Wife of Captain William Thompson

Seaborn Jones Thompson (1827-1866) – Company H, 63rd Georgia Infantry, CSA

Joseph Maybank Jones (7 May 1804-5 January 1831) – Jones, a native of Liberty County, died near Louisville on his way home from the legislature in Milledgeville and was buried here.

Family of Owen (9 March 1806-27 January 1877) & Bdelia (11 March 1811-15 September 1884) McDermott . Fourteen more family members are buried here.

Seth Pierce (1756-1841) Revoultionary War Veteran & Obediah Pierce (1805-1884) – Cenotaph. Obediah’s three children are memorialzed, as well. His sons, Obediah, Jr., and John W. were Confederate soldiers, who appear to have died in service. His daughter, Susan Pierce Stevens, was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Dawson, Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Louisville GA

Anjette Lyles, Georgia’s Most Infamous Female Serial Killer

Though largely forgotten today, the story of Anjette Lyles and her morbid crime spree was one of the most sensational in 20th-century Georgia. Lyles was born Anjette Donovan in 1925 to a relatively prosperous family. She married Ben Lyles in 1947 and soon after the birth of the couple’s first daughter, Marcia, went to work in the Lyles family’s popular downtown Macon restaurant with Ben’s mother, Julia. Ben, a veteran of World War II, apparently had a drinking and gambling problem and sold the restaurant far below market value in 1951 to pay off a gambling debt. Anjette, who had recently given birth to the couple’s second daughter, Carla, was furious that Ben hadn’t consulted her before the sale. Ben suddenly fell ill in December 1951. Doctors at the Veterans Administration ran a battery of tests but were unable to determine the cause of his sickness. He never recovered and died on 25 January 1952. After his death, Anjette moved in with her parents while learning the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business and saving money. She bought back the Lyles Restaurant in 1955 and renamed it “Anjette’s”. It quickly became one of Macon’s most popular eateries. She hired her mother-in-law, Julia, to help bring back some of the old Lyles customers.

In July 1955, Anjette went on a vacation with one of the restaurants new regulars, pilot Joe Neal [Buddy] Gabbert and upon their return to Macon, many were shocked to learn that they had been married on the trip. Rumors began to circulate almost immediately, as Buddy was gone most of the time. It didn’t help that Anjette was a big flirt and was known to dabble in “black magic”. Restaurant staff reported that she had been seen whispering to black candles when she thought no one was around. In October 1955, Buddy went to the hospital for a minor operation on his wrist. When he returned home to convalesce, he developed a fever and a rash which spread over his body. Doctors were at a loss as to explain the origin of the rash and after his condition continued to deteriorate, he died on 2 December 1955. Shortly after Buddy’s death, Anjette changed her name back to Lyles and bought a house and new car with the insurance settlement. This raised eyebrows in Macon. Julia Lyles moved in with Anjette to be with her grandchildren but the women did not get along well. Anjette wanted Julia to make a will but Julia refused. In 1957, Julia became ill and was hospitalized, dying on 29 September 1957.

In March 1958, Marcia became violently sick at the restaurant and people in Macon began to be suspicious about Anjette. Marcia remained hospitalized with hallucinations and failing kidneys. She died on 4 April 1958. A coroner’s inquest initially found no indication of foul play but an anonymous letter from a restaurant employee suggested that Anjette had kept ant poison on hand and perhaps this should be investigated. The ant poison contained arsenic and this led the coroner to order the exhumation of the prior victims, who all showed signs of arsenic poisoning. A month after Marcia’s death, while Anjette was in the hospital for varicose veins, she was arrested and charged with the murders of both her husbands, her mother-in-law, and Marcia. Her trial in October 1958 was a media frenzy. She was found guilty and sentenced to death but Governor Ernest Vandiver, unwilling to be responsible for executing a white woman, had her declared insane and placed in Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, where she died in 1977.

Ironically, she was buried alongside Marcia and Ben, in the Donovan family plot at Coleman’s Chapel United Methodist Church cemetery near Wadley.

Jaclyn Weldon White’s Whisper to the Black Candle is the most comprehensive book on the subject to date.

 

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